June 24, 2013

Pileated Woodpecker

I knew we had a Pileated Woodpecker in the neighborhood but I could never get a photo of it!  Until now!  I finally have a photo of the Pileated Woodpecker.

 The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.

For more information on the Pileated Woodpecker click this link.  http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/pileated_woodpecker/id

April 5, 2012

Red-Shouldered Hawk

A common forest-dwelling hawk of the East and California, the Red-shouldered Hawk favors woodlands near water. It is perhaps the most vocal American hawk. The clearing of forests over the last two centuries probably led to decreases in populations of the Red-shouldered Hawk, while increasing habitat for the Red-tailed Hawk. Populations appear stable, but may be declining in some areas.

The nest a large bowl of sticks, dried leaves, strips of bark, Spanish moss, lichens, and live conifer twigs. Lined with fine bark, mosses, lichens, and conifer twigs. Placed in main crotch of tree, often near water.

 The Red-shouldered Hawk drops on prey from perch in canopy. They may hunt from ground to catch mammals in burrows, hopping after them when they come out.

On March 17th J heard and then saw these two beautiful Red-shouldered Hawks mating in the tree across the street from us then on March 18th we once again heard these birds and then we got another chance to see them mate in our tree in our back yard.  The Red-shouldered Hawks have moved into the marsh across the street from us. I love this nice treat as we have never seen these birds in our area (Ramsey, MN). 

Some nesting facts for the Red-shouldered hawk -

Clutch Size - 2–5 eggs
Egg Description - Dull white or faint bluish with brown blotches and markings
Condition at Hatching - Helpless, eyes open, covered in buffy brown down. By the time they are five days old, nestling Red-shouldered Hawks can shoot their feces over the edge of their nest. Bird poop on the ground is a sign of an active nest.

February 24, 2012

Decorah Eagles - Iowa

The Raptor Resource Project brings you the Decorah Eagles from atop their tree at the fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa.  The live video feed is streamed online 24/7. At night an infrared light provides night vision to viewers through the cam. Infrared light is not visible to eagles, they do not see it or know it is there.

 At 7:47pm on February 17, 2012 the Decorah Eagle laid her first egg of the year. Check out the Decorah Eagles on live cam below.

I believe I found a video of the Decorah Eagles when they first met.  It is on PBS.org on a series called Nature. For more than a quarter-century, NATURE has brought the beauty and wonder of the natural world into American homes, becoming in the process the benchmark of natural history programs on television. Here is a direct link to the show called "American Eagle" .

Decorah Eagles have a second egg.  Second egg arrived Feb 20th at 9:06 PM CST. 

On February 23, 2012 I watched as the as both ma and pa flew off and left the eggs unattended for about 10 minutes.

Third egg arrived Feb 24th at 8:05 PM CST

Stream videos at Ustream

July 24, 2011

Portulaca Grandiflora - Mixed Moss Roses

Portulaca Grandiflora - Mixed Moss Roses is a small group of low-growing, trailing annuals that produce many brightly colored flowers that open every morning in the sunshine and form a carpet of color. They readily bloom all summer long with little or no care required. Most flowers close up at night, and on cloudy days. I let my Portulaca Grandiflora - Mixed Moss Roses (three plants) go to seed last year and thought I had pulled all the plants but this is what came up this year. The Portulaca Grandiflora - Mixed Moss Roses came back with vengeance.

Portulaca Grandiflora - Mixed Moss Roses love the sun, therefore need a sunny position to be successful. Moss Rose grows well in poor, sandy or rock gardens, that are very well-drained. Plants are drought tolerant, but flowers best with regular watering. Water them during dry spells.

Portulaca Grandiflora - Mixed Moss Roses have several large flowers, up to an inch in diameter, with shining rose-like petals grow at the ends of the stems. They come in an array of bright, beautiful colors and shades of rose, salmon, pink, scarlet, orange, yellow, and white. Some flowers are also striped or spotted with contrasting colors. There are both single and double flowered varieties available.

July 15, 2011

Old Home and Barn

We found this beautiful Old homestead while taking a ride on the motorcycle. It appears that no one lives there any more but someone is still taking care of the grounds. The old home has holes in the roof and birds were going in and out of them. The old barn seems to be standing but has holes in the roof and parts of the roof are hanging off. This beautiful old home and barn is located north of Dalbo, MN and South of Ogilvie, MN on HWY 47. As much as I would have like to get better photo's, I did not go much further on the land then the road as I did not want to trespass. While on our ride J and I stopped in Ogilvie, MN for lunch we found this place called The Finish Line Bar. It is a small bar but what I have noticed is that you get great food and service at small places like this. The food was really good and the portions we right up there for the price. Not sure what drinks cost as we do not drink and drive.

June 28, 2011

Gray's Tree Frogs

As the scientific name implies, Gray Tree Frogs are variable in color owing to their ability to camouflage themselves from gray to green, depending on the substrate they are sitting on. The degree of mottling varies. They can change from nearly black to nearly white. They change color at a slower rate than a chameleon. Dead Gray Tree Frogs and ones in unnatural surroundings are predominantly gray. They are relatively small compared to other North American frog species, typically attaining no more than 1.5 to 2 in. Their skin has a lumpy texture to it, giving them a warty appearance. They are virtually indistinguishable from the Cope's Gray Tree Frog, the only readily noticeable difference being their calls. Cope's Gray Tree Frog has a shorter, faster call. To learn a little more about the Gray's Tree Frog, click on the Gray's Tree Frog link to the right in labels.

June 12, 2011

White Bearded Iris

These White Bearded Irises where given to me. We did not know what color they were or if they would even bloom as they had not bloomed in the yard that I received them from.

The word Iris means a rainbow. Iris is the flower of the Greek Goddess Iris who is the messenger of Love. In the language of flowers Iris symbolizes eloquence.

Irises are wonderful garden plants. Irises come many colors: blue and purple, white and yellow, pink and orange, brown and red, and even black.

The genus Iris has about 200 species and is native of North Temperate regions of the world. The habitat of iris also varies a lot. Some irises grow in deserts, some in swamps, some in the cold far north, and many in temperate climates. Bearded Iris and Siberian Iris are two of the most common types of iris grown.

White Iris symbolizes purity.

Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love, her sacred flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages. Therefore the flower iris in the language of flowers symbolizes eloquence. Based on their color, iris conveys varied messages. Purple iris is symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Blue iris symbolizes faith and hope. Yellow iris symbolizes passion. A gift of iris can be used to convey many emotions.

June 6, 2011


History Of The Fuchsia

Fuchsias originated from South America, growing wild there and in New Zealand. The first record of a fuchsia was published in 1703 by Father Charles Plumier, a Catholic missionary in Santo Domingo. He named the plant Fuchsia triphylla flore coccinea after his colleague, Leonhart Fuchs.

However, fuchsias were not imported into Britain until around 1789, as was recorded in the Botanical Magazine of that same year. Within a few years, several other fuchsia species were introduced to England, and these were crossed to produce the ancestors of the fuchsias we know and love today. This process of crossing varieties continued throughout the 1800’s, with the hybridising of fuchsias reaching the height of popularity in late Victorian times. Two prominent figures who grew fuchsias in this era were James Lye and George Bright. Fuchsia popularity after Victorian times declined. It declined even further as a result of the first World War, when there was a greater interest in vegetable growing. The growing of fuchsias and other decorative plants suffered as a result. In the 1930’s, the Americans set to work on fuchsias and this resulted in larger flowers in a larger range of plants.

It wasn't until the mid 1950’s that the fuchsia regained popularity in the UK, but this second wave of popularity has remained through to the present day. Many of the original Fuchsia varieties are still popular today.

Fuchsias are one genus of the botanical family Onagraceae, and they are therefore related to other members of the genus such as Godetia and Evening Primrose. Within the fuchsia genus there are over one hundred separate species.

Within these various species of fuchsia there are many cultivars and varieties. A ‘variety’ is a naturally occurring plant which is different from others within a species (e.g. Fuchsia regia var. ampliata). A ‘cultivar’ is the same, although the plant has been 'man made’. The majority of commercially available fuchsias today are cultivars such as ‘Display’ and ‘Riccartonii’.

All information on the history of the Fuchsia is to be credited to Solent Fuchsia Club, Fareham, Hampshire. Thank you for the use of your Fuchsia history!

Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias are popular for their beautiful flowers which come in a variety of colors and forms. Red, orange, yellow, white, salmon and pink blooms may be single or double; they may be plain, ruffled or toothed; their petals may have margins, crests or blotches of contrasting color. Tuberous begonias bloom throughout the summer, thriving in shady spots where few other plants with long bloom periods and showy flowers can grow. They are often used as container plants on patios and porches, in hanging baskets, and as bedding plants.

June 3, 2011

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Adults Red-Bellied Woodpecker are mainly light gray on the face and underparts; they have black and white barred patterns on their back, wings and tail. Adult Red-Bellied Woodpecker males have a red headside going from the bill to the nape; females Red-Bellied Woodpecker have a red patch on the nape and another above the bill. The reddish tinge on the belly that gives the bird its name is difficult to see in field identification. They are 9 to 10.5 inches long, and have a wingspan of 15 to 18 inches.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Sounds, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

May 31, 2011

Dark Blue Callie (Calibrachoa)

Dark Blue Callie (Calibrachoa) is a genus of plants in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. They are weak evergreen short-lived perennials and subshrubs with a sprawling habit, and they have small petunia-type flowers.

Some of these are kept as ornamental plants. The Dark Blue Callie plants can tolerate light frost and thrive in sun or semi-shade. Plant in a free-draining soil and water only when the soil is almost dry. Propagate from tip cuttings.

May 22, 2011

Black Swallowtail Butterfly?

The (Eastern) Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) also called the American Swallowtail or Parsnip Swallowtail, is a butterfly found throughout much of North America. It is the state butterfly of Oklahoma. There is an extremely similar-appearing species, Papilio joanae that occurs in the Ozark Mountains region, but it appears to be closely related to Papilio machaon, rather than polyxenes.

The Black Swallowtail has a wingspan of 3.1 to 4.3 in. The upper surface of the wings is mostly black. On the inner edge of hindwing is a black spot centered in larger orange spot. A male of this species has a yellow band near edge of wings; a female has row of yellow spots. The hindwing of the female has an iridescent blue band.

Bluebird and Indigo Bunting

The bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Sialia of the thrush family. Bluebirds are one of the few thrush genera in the Americas. They have blue, or blue and red, plumage. Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size between sexes.

Non-native and native bird species competing with bluebirds for nesting locations include the Common Starling, American Crow, and House Sparrow, which take over the nesting sites of bluebirds, killing young and smashing eggs and probably killing adult bluebirds.By the 1970s, bluebird numbers had declined by estimates ranging to 70% due to unsuccessful competition with house sparrows and starlings, both introduced species, for nesting cavities, coupled with a decline in habitat.

However, in late 2005 there were reports of bluebird sightings across the southern U.S., a strong indication of the bluebird's return to the region. This upsurge can largely be attributed to a movement of volunteers establishing and maintaining bluebird trails. Blue Bird have a orange/brown chest while a Indigo Bunting has a chest that is all blue.

The Indigo Bunting is a small bird, with a length of 4.5–5 in. It displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is a vibrant blue in the summer and a brown color during the winter months, while the female is brown year-round. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate. Nest-building and incubation are done solely by the female.

The Indigo Bunting, Passerina cyanea, is a small seed-eating bird in the family Cardinalidae. It is migratory, ranging from southern Canada to northern Florida during the breeding season, and from southern Florida to northern South America during the winter. It often migrates by night, using the stars to navigate. Its habitat is farmland, brush areas, and open woodland. The Indigo Bunting is closely related to the Lazuli Bunting, and interbreeds with the latter species where their ranges overlap.

May 17, 2011

Iris Aphylla (Bearded Iris)

This Bearded Iris has gray-green leaves and bears purple to violet-blue flowers with yellow-tipped beards in mid-spring. The word "aphylla" is Greek for "without leaf" in reference to its habit of going dormant in winter.

Iris Aphylla (Bearded Iris), or more commonly know as Stool Iris, is a forb/herb (a forb/herb is a non-woody plant that is not a grass) of the genus Iris. It’s duration is perennial which means it will grow year after year. Iris Aphylla or Stool Iris‘s floral region is North America US Lower 48, specifically in the state of Missouri.

This bearded Iris is in it's second year of growth. First year it never flowered.

Purple iris is symbolic of wisdom and compliments.

May 13, 2011

Baltimore Oriole

Seen in Ramsey, MN on May 9, 2011. The Baltimore Oriole is Maryland's official state bird. Male Orioles have brilliant orange-golden underparts and shoulder patches, with black wings and a black head. Females are not as brightly colored. Though they are partially orange, they also have and brownish-olive plumage.

These attractive birds frequent woodlands and eat common creatures including caterpillars and insects supplemented by fruits and berries. The Baltimore Oriole's appetite for caterpillars may help protect forests from some destructive pests. In the backyard, they can be enticed to visit feeders with oranges, nectars, or peanut butter.

Each spring a female Oriole constructs a hanging nest at the end of a tree branch. From this perch, she will guard her eggs (typically four) for about two weeks. When the young birds hatch, both parents will feed and watch over them for an additional two weeks.

About Me

My Photo
Minnesota, United States
A collection of flowers, old barns, hummingbirds and various others. Photographs were taken with a regular film camera and with - Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD & Nikon CoolPix P100 digital cameras. I hope you enjoy!